[Ads-l] OT: pronunciation of French scientist's name, DeBroglie

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 29 17:43:07 UTC 2018

> On Jan 29, 2018, at 12:11 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU> wrote:
> A student has asked me the pronunciation of the French name
> DeBroglie.  The pronunciation is available on bing.com,
> but as often as I listen to it, I can't decide whether the
> woman is pronouncing the "I" (third letter from end)
> or not.
> Would any native speakers of French on this list
> be able to provide a definitive answer? It would
> be much appreciated.
> Gerald Cohen

Interesting.  I’m not a native speaker, but I do feel reasonably confident in how I pronounce French, yet I’d have guessed wrong here.  If you check the wikipedia entry for the eponymous physicist at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Broglie you’ll get the IPA rendering of his name as [dəbʁɔj] or [dəbʁœj] and you’re also linked to a sound file at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:De_Broglie.ogg.  In each case, there’s no lateral consonant in the pronunciation, and in fact if I were transcribing what I hear at the sound file, I’d have come up with “de Breuil” (in which the final <l> is definitely silent). (This matches the second of the two phonetic forms in the wiki-entry.)  Who knew?

I do remember that the 1960’s-era pitcher for the Cardinals and Cubs, Ernie Broglio, mostly famous for his part in an historically lopsided trade for Hall of Famer Lou Brock, pronounced his name with an /l/.  Neither here nor there, however.


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